Morrin Centre celebrates Members’ Day with tour and tasting
The Morrin Centre cel- ebrated its members on Nov. 4 with an afternoon of events catering to all ages and a wide variety of interests.
The versatile College Hall, with its sliding partition doors, proved the perfect stage for Martin Le Magicien, whose performance thrilled younger members and provided more than a few laughs for their stalwart parents. As the saying goes, a magician never reveals their secrets, and all who attended were left scratching their heads when a burst balloon revealed a rabbit as if from thin air, not to mention the numerous clever card tricks and Martin’s apparent telepathy with members of the audience.
Tea, coffee and snacks were available in the other half of the room, a corner of which had been furnished with a rug, wing-backed armchairs and lots of children’s books. The interlude provided a chance for everyone to mingle with members of staff and the board of directors.
Those familiar with the works of novelist Louise Penny will know that she immortal- ized the Morrin Centre in her novel Bury Your Dead. The Literary and Historical Society provided the backdrop for a grisly murder which her protagonist, Chief Inspector Armand Gamache, goes on to solve.
The exact scene of the fictional crime has, however, been off limits to members of the public since the early 1990s … until now. A select few members were allowed to descend the rickety stairs into the basement, where cultural heritage co-ordinator Anthony Arata pointed out excavated artifacts and architectural anomalies which brought the history of the building, particularly the period in which it served as the city’s prison, to life and added fuel to the imaginations of those preoccupied with the literary significance of the dirt floor and vaulted ceilings.
The last event on the afternoon’s agenda was “story time for adults” in the form of a beer tasting. Education co-ordinator Manuela Flores Denti masterminded an intriguing lineup which began with a comparison of Czechvar, the original Czech lager or budvar, and the export it inspired, the commercial juggernaut Budweiser. This was followed by Colborne, a craft beer from Le Naufrageur microbrewery in the Baie-des- Chaleurs region. While the beer was dark and rich, darker still was the explanation of the term naufrageur, which refers to those who engaged in the ancient piratical practice of luring ships onto the rocky shore, where once wrecked, they could be looted. The third sample was another departure both in terms of flavour profile and geographical and historical significance. Ichigo, a strawberry gose beer from the Ippon brewery in Montreal, was as interesting to taste as the story of its inception. Following the Second World War, Japan sourced much of its food from Mexico and the United States with strict rationing in place for decades due to the country’s defeat and near destruction. Frozen strawberries were a common import, and this distinctive flavour, combined with the can which is designed to mimic the ration packs of the time, makes the beer something of a time capsule as well as a taste sensation.